My old high school, James Madison in Brooklyn, had some students everyone can be very proud of-- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Bernie, Carole King, Chris Rock, a bunch of Nobel Prize winners... And then there were Andrew Dice Clay, Norm Coleman and Chuck Schumer. The son of an exterminator, Schumer was an over-achiever and know-it-all who graduated as valedictorian and went to Harvard to study chemistry, presumably to help out in the family business. He got swept up in the insurgent Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign and switched to political science and then went to Harvard Law. Right out of law school he was elected to the state Assembly to represent my district. I was in Afghanistan at the time. When our congresswoman, the legendary Liz Holtzman ran for the Senate, Schumer slipped right into her congressional seat. He decided to start his political career as a progressive in the state legislature. Wall Street barked and snarled and didn't have to do it a second time. His experiment as a progressive ended immediately-- and forever.
Well... forever until now. Schumer has never lost an election. Now, as Senate Majority Leader (his life's dream), he's scared shitless of a 31 year old Puerto Rican congresswoman from the Bronx, freaking out that AOC may challenge him in a 2022 primary. So he's moved left and is sounding more and more like Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley and even fellow Madison alum Bernie Sanders. But "sounding like" isn't the same as being like. Earlier today I explained that Kevin McCarthy isn't a real conservative, just a political hack who has put his energy into "slappin'-on-the-back power accumulation, transactional politics and fundraising"-- just like Chuck Schumer, who will never be a real progressive.
The 3 of the 4 most disgustingly conservative and corporate-oriented Democrats in the Senate were put there by Schumer: Frackenlooper (CO), Mark Kelly (AZ) and, worst of all, Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). He recruited them and he eviscerated their progressive opponents. It's something he started doing when he was chair of the DSCC almost 2 decades ago. He's become expert at it-- not electing Democrats, just eviscerating progressives on behalf of conservative Dems in primaries, most of whom lose in general elections. He's a Biblical-grade snake who uses whispering campaigns to undercut progressive candidates and then gets shit-eating, access-craving scum-suckers in the media to spread his poison. He guaranteed reelection to Marco Rubio in Florida by making up "scandals" about Alan Grayson, arguably the most pogressive member of the House, in order to give the nomination to someone who could never beat Rubio, rich-daddy financed but hapless and pointless former Republican Patrick Murphy, who Rubio laughed off and beat him 4,835,191 (52.0%) to 4,122,088 (44.3%), even while Hillary was scoring 4,504,975 votes (47.8%) in Florida on the same day, holding Trump to a 49.0% win.
By the time Schumer realized what a complete dud Murphy was-- and pulled DSCC support-- it was too late. Same thing happened this past year in North Carolina, when Schumer cut up progressive state Senator Erica Smith on behalf of perennial loser, corporate conservative Cal Cunningham. By the time he realized Cunningham was the worst possible candidate who had no chance to win a race that Smith would have... it was too late. Had Schumer not interfered in the primary, the Senate Democrats would have 51 members, not be stuck in a 50-50 nightmare with Mitch McConnell.
Probably worse were 3 backward arch-conservatives Schumer picked who did win in the last 2 cycles: Frackenlooper, Kelly and Sinema, who will now work behind the scenes threatening to withhold their support for anything progressive the Senate attempts to do-- and that Schumer seems to be supporting.
In a Hill piece this morning, Centrist Democrats Pose Major Problem For Progressives, Alexander Bolton, who always refers to everyone from the right-of-center Republican wing of the Democratic Party as "centrists," forgot to mention these reactionary Democratic senators were all placed into their nominations by Schumer's toxic shenanigans. And now the fighting progressive, Little Chuckie Schmucky, can conveniently seem to "fight" for progressive policies without having to worry about them passing. "The new strength of Democratic moderates in the Senate may temper just how aggressively Democratic leaders can push for President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and other priorities, including climate change legislation. The addition of two new Democratic moderates [Note: right-wingers] to the Senate-- newly elected Sens. John Hickenlooper (CO) and Mark Kelly (AZ)-- combined with enhanced profiles for Sens. Joe Manchin (WA) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), has strengthened the centrist [Note: Republican] wing of the caucus. The growing influence of party moderates [Note: putrid reactionaries] has put one of Biden’s priorities [Note: LOL], a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, in serious trouble, and complicates other plans on immigration and climate change."
The anti-progressive, right-wing Senate Dems who lost pathetic reelection battles during the 2018 "Blue Wave"-- Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN), Claire McCaskill (MO) and Bill Nelson (FL)-- are all bitter and blame their defeats not on their conservatism but on progressives. They're in the wrong party. And it looks like Schumer is trying to recruit Donnelly to run again next year, guaranteeing that Todd Young will not be a one-term senator.
Democratic moderates flexed their muscle last week when they voted for several Republican amendments during a marathon voting session to set up a special path to pass Biden’s coronavirus relief package with a simple majority next month.
Eight Democrats-- Manchin, Sinema, Hickenlooper, Kelly, Tester, Hassan, Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI)-- voted for an amendment to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving direct stimulus payments or other tax-based temporary financial assistance from the next COVID-19 rescue package.
Seven moderate Democrats also voted for an amendment to prohibit the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing rules and guidance to ban hydraulic fracking in the United States.
Those “yes” votes included Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Martin Heinrich (NM), Ben Ray Luján (NM), Michael Bennet (CO), Hickenlooper, Manchin and John Tester (MT).
Jim Kessler, a former aide to Schumer and executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist (right-of-center, corporately funded] Democratic think tank, said the votes are examples of what Schumer will have to deal with. But he argued the centrists can actually help Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), casting them as key for the party to retain the House and Senate majorities.
“There will be places where the centrist wing will make necessary corrections that work with the interior of the country and I look at these centrist members as not just majority-makers for Schumer in the Senate and Pelosi in the House, but these are the folks that are going to be able to get legislation across the finish line,” said Kessler.
“You’ll see progressive enthusiasm tempered on occasion but there’s a lot of synergy on the broad goals,” he added.
Kessler said centrist Democrats could pose the biggest obstacle to Biden’s climate agenda, depending on how aggressive his White House and Democratic leaders push on the issue.
“I expect we’ll get a climate deal, but that’s going to take a lot of work. There are a lot of Democratic senators that are in extraction states,” he added.
Manchin and Tester voted for an amendment last week sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) to reverse Biden’s action to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, an executive order he issued his first day in office.
Kelly, Manchin and Sinema voted for another Republican amendment to expand health savings accounts, which the 47 other members of the Democratic caucus opposed, while Manchin and Sen. Angus King (ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, teamed up to support a GOP amendment making it a priority to take into custody illegal immigrants charged with crimes resulting in death or serious injury.
None of the votes had the effect of law since they were amendments to a budget resolution that won’t be signed by Biden, but they show the challenges Schumer will have in keeping his caucus unified.
“A majority built on members from red and purple states is certainly nothing new from Democrats. The key, particularly with a slim margin, will be striking a balance between allowing those members to demonstrate their independence with keeping the caucus unified on critical votes,” said Matt House, a Democratic strategist and former Schumer aide.
Biden himself acknowledged Friday that his proposal to boost the minimum wage to $15 will likely fall out of the COVID-19 relief package, which will need all 50 votes in the Senate Democratic Conference to pass.
“My guess is it will not be in it,” he told CBS News in an interview with Norah O’Donnell. “I don’t think it is going to survive.”
Some Democratic strategists interpreted that concession as giving cover to Senate and House moderates. [Bolton seems to thing the gigantically popular minimum wage increase is radical rather than moderate. A $40 an hour minimum wage might be considered radical; $15/hour is verrrrryyyyyy moderate, far more so than anything he describes when he misuses the term.]
“That’s probably why he did it,” said Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist.
“I think Biden put the $15 in knowing it was a straw man,” he added. “That would show, OK, the progressives want it, I’m going to put it in. But I’m going to back that out and give some cover to the moderates, but now I have leverage with the moderates to come back and say, ‘I helped you, you got to help me on something else.’"
See why the word "Democrap" (and plural, "Democraps") is catching on?